I’m a Corinthian figure-aholic. There, I said it. And I’m not ashamed to let you all know about it. I’m Paddy, and here’s my story about why I love football figures and why I still collect them to this day.
My tale starts in Woolworths, as all good stories do. It was soon to be my birthday and I was being made a cake that resembled a football pitch. What do all good football pitch cakes need? Football figures, obviously. I’d walked through Woolworths a few times and noticed these football figures with large heads but never really had an excuse to purchase them. I mean, buying these would take money away from Merlin’s Premier League football stickers, right? But here was my chance to change that.
I was given money to buy two players - a striker and a goalkeeper. I simply had to choose Alan Shearer but wasn’t too sure on the goalkeeper - that was until I saw Neville Southall, decision made! After my birthday passed they sat pride of place on the TV in the lounge. And then it started. I had the Corinthian figure bug. I very quickly outgrew the top of the TV and had to move to on top of a chest of drawers and it slowly moved onto every surface I was allowed to use in the house, including a specially made display case!
Even as a child, I worried about the ‘condition’ of my figures. This meant I had to stop ripping open the packaging and actually playing with them - I started to kept them all in pristine condition in their blister pack. Worried I wasn’t enjoying them enough - my dad even attached string around my room so I they could be hung and display them all.
The greatest thing about collecting Corinthian figures? Easy, the conventions at Villa Park. Without a doubt the best day of the year for any football figure collector out there. Does life get any better than rummaging around in a bargain bin to find that Mark Pembridge figure you’ve always been looking for? I doubt it. Surrounded by literally thousands of figures - I was in absolute heaven. Take me back any day of the week!
By the early 2000s I was collecting literally everything Corinthian had released. XL Figures, ProStars, MicroStars, Keyrings... even the air fresheners! And it wasn’t just Corinthian figures either. I had a growing collecting of Tonka figures and basically anything football related from the 80s-00s. Pogs, Marbles, Sticker albums, World Cup coins. You name it… I had it. These were all great, but you can’t re-enact your favourite childhood goal with a football sticker, now can you?
In my opinion, MicroStars were a great addition to the Corinthian brand - I mean not only did you get a football figure, it came inside chocolate! Headliners sometimes had a tendency to fall over if the figure wasn’t quite molded correctly but Microstars didn’t have that problem due to their size. One of my favourite pieces in my collection is the Microstars legend box - one I can highly recommend that you check out.
My Headliner/ProStar favourites? Now that’s a difficult one. My favourite range has to be the Ballon d'Or range - the figures are molded beautifully but sadly there are quite a few Ballon d'Or figures in my opinion should have been created, it could have made for a much larger range. My favourite figure? Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi sporting the fantastic France ‘98 flame goalkeeper shirt. It’s an absolute beauty of a figure.
I’m not the only one who loves Corinthian figures. We spoke to the brilliant @CorinthianHead about his ever growing collection:
“Corinthian figures epitomise my childhood, encapsulating football and 90s culture. It was love-at-first-sight for me when I saw a bunch of them on the green 12 figure display stand at my best friend’s house when I was only 10-years- old. I felt compelled to get some of my own right away and he told me that his came from Woolworths.
The figures were like a step up from the Premier League football stickers and Promatch cards that we’d spend lunchtimes swapping at School, these were 3D! The detail of most of the figures was great and it felt like you owned a little piece of footballing magic.
The thrill of growing a collection was something a lot of kids felt and I certainly caught the bug, helped by the collector cards and information files. I had figures in storage for years and almost forgot I had them until I moved 18 months ago. Upon re-discovering them I fell in love all over again and was taken right back to my childhood. I now have a studio space dedicated to displaying them and to my other half’s annoyance I am again growing my collection.”
Back to my collection, it grew and grew right until Corinthian Prostar figures were no more in the late 2000s. Although Microstars continued for a couple of years later - it was the end of an era for thousands of football figures around the World. SoccerStarz came a couple of years later, and although I have a small collection of these the quality simply doesn’t feel the same compared to ProStars or MicroStars which is a shame.
Like @CorinthianHead, up until a couple of years ago my figures were sat in my parents loft - lost and gathering dust, just waiting for someone to re-discover the Corinthian magic. That was until I was told to shift them, and moving thousands of figures from one loft to another is something I wouldn’t rush to do again!
As I was moving them it all came flooding back to me, so I did what any football mad person would do and started bought some more. I mean you can never have too many football figures... right? That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. I’m very slowing sorting through them and post pictures of my collection on @90sfootball from time to time, selling doubles and filling in any gaps - and I’m trying to put as many on display at possible as can be seen in pictures throughout this article.
So there you have it - a little bit about my collection. If anyone wants to write a blog post on their football related collection - Please get in touch. And of course, if you’re reading this and have anything Corinthian related for sale feel free to send me a message. I can always have more!